BOZEMAN, Mont.— Animal protection and conservation groups filed a lawsuit last week challenging the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission’s illegal, fast-tracked adoption of grizzly bear hunting regulations that open the door for trophy hunting once the bears are stripped of Endangered Species Act protections. A final rule removing Yellowstone grizzly bears from the endangered species list is expected as early as November.

The Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity and Bozeman resident Clint Nagel filed the suit after citizens concerned about Montana’s trophy-hunting plan were denied access to the full content of the regulations, unlawfully limiting their ability to voice informed opinions on the controversial plan. Despite this violation of the rulemaking process, the Commission voted unanimously to adopt the regulations on July 13. It simultaneously ratified a tri-state memorandum of agreement with Idaho and Wyoming to divvy up quotas for grizzly hunts.

“I have two concerns over the issue of delisting of the grizzly bear: the future of the bear itself, and making sure the public understands and participates in decisions about how the bear will be managed if delisting occurs,” said Mr. Nagel, a retired U.S. Geological Survey employee and long-time advocate for Greater Yellowstone wildlife. “Because the state hasn’t provided sufficient details to the public, we just don’t know enough about how trophy hunting will be regulated, and how managers will prevent an unwanted decline in the overall population and genetic viability.”

The long-term harm caused by trophy hunting is well established in scientific literature. By specifically targeting the biggest and strongest males, trophy hunting reduces the genetic viability of a species and has cascading impacts on the social dynamics of apex predators, including increasing infanticide. And a recent study demonstrated that when states allow recreational trophy hunting of carnivores, it increases the rate of poaching by making killing more acceptable. 

“The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has hidden the ball by proposing and adopting a regulation that was not made fully available to the public,” said Anna Frostic, senior attorney for wildlife litigation at The Humane Society of the United States. “Expecting stakeholders, outside experts and the concerned public to comment on a regulatory proposal that was not even made accessible to them makes a mockery of their constitutional right to participate meaningfully in decisions about Montana’s wildlife heritage.”

In March 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to delist grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem and turn their management over to the states. Shortly thereafter, Montana — like Wyoming and Idaho — rushed to approve a trophy-hunting season that puts the recovery of grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone in jeopardy.

“Recent polling shows Americans overwhelmingly oppose trophy hunting,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “By purposefully limiting public participation on the trophy hunting issue, Montana is trying to drown out these voices. Montana’s constitution and its laws require more.”

The plaintiffs are seeking to reopen the comment period on the regulations in order to give members of the public the opportunity to scrutinize and comment on the full content of the rule. They are represented by attorneys from The Humane Society of the United States and local counsel, Kristine M. Akland.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

61 Responses to Montana’s Regulations for Hunting Grizzly Bears is challenged as illegal

  1. Trish Marie says:

    When will the Jeremiah Johnson-wannabe’s of the world realize that the 1800’s are more than a century in the rear-view mirror, and wildlife, especially our great predators, need human protection–not renewed hunting–if they’re going to survive in anything remotely resembling an actual wild-life? It’s maddening …

  2. Yvette says:

    It makes me wonder if this is about a species that has recovered or about the sport/trophy and entertainment hunting industry. Is it ever about the science?

  3. Joanne Favazza says:

    Leave the bears alone!

  4. Cody Coyote says:

    When I get into verbal wrestling match with pro-hunting delisting advocate, I can usually get a chokehold on them by saying ” you only see the Grizzly Bear as a big game target animal. You are not able to see the bear as wildlife. Big difference… ”

    I am in Cody Wyoming on Yellowstone’s front stoop. About 95 percent of Yellowstone Park proper and the majority of the GYE is in Wyoming , and our Yellowstone Grizzly situation is different, more complex than Idaho and Montana. Trying to have a working dialogue with a salivating big game trophy hunter is difficult. They all claim to be ” wildlife conservationists ” when they go hunting, but they fail miserably when asked to define wildlife, or conservation , in a non-hunting context. Basically, they just want to kill something. Science and landscape scale ecology just go Whoosh! past their fluorescent orange hats.

    • rork says:

      Thankyou for limiting your comments to the hunters who I can’t even understand. A grizzly bear is worth over 100 people. Observing them is far better than killing them, and when it’s dead, nobody gets to observe it, and that’s not even counting the ecosystem value. So few will ever be hunted that it feels nothing like a resource, except for the ability to witness them, alive. Even based on North American hunting model principles, I question the ethics of supporting such a hunt, until such time as we have overpopulation problems. It’s horrible PR too. Hunters should oppose this.

  5. Steve Schmidt says:

    In the United States, we still strive to operate via laws enacted by federal and state governments. Decisions about delisting a species are directed by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This population of grizzly bears is long overdue for delisting as per the standards of the ESA. When the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) solicits public comments, they are in effect asking, “Did we miss anything?” The USFWS is particularly interested if any part of the delisting process or pertinent science has been overlooked. The public comment process is not intended to be a popular opinion vote on whether the bears should be delisted. The pertinent question is, “Have the bears recovered to a point where, by law, federal protection is no longer warranted?” How the bears are managed after delisting is a matter for each state to determine within that state as long as minimum population metrics are maintained. Federal law provides states the authority to determine how wildlife in state borders that is not listed as threatened or endangered via the ESA should be managed. If folks don’t like how the states intend to manage bears, they would do well to remember who the Trustees are for state managed wildlife (that is elected officials). If a different management plan is desired, then elect different Trustees.

    • Dr. Brad Bergstrom says:

      The ESA sets no standard for delisting, other than basing the decision on the best currently available science. That was progressive language in the 1973 bill, because it recognizes that the science is constantly changing. The 2016 science says that fewer than 700 bears in this isolated population puts the GYE population at genetic risk. The 4 major food staples of the bears are all declining and expected to decline even more in future. Given these threats it is unconscionable that we would begin to see substantial human harvest, which can be additive. Other recent science shows that legalization of harvest actually increases poaching. This population, which is arguably already declining, simply cannot sustain such an increase in mortality. Finally, I don’t think the ESA was intended to recover a species just so it can be hunted. That now seems to be the perverse model when it comes to endangered carnivores. Should we start shooting eagles again? Should we start whaling again?

      • Steve Schmidt says:

        Information about the USFWS delisting process and requirements for delisting per the Endangered Species Act is summarized here:
        It is important to remember that a federal listing of threatened or endangered was never intended to be a final resting place for a species. Rather “Delisting [a] species is the ultimate goal of implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA.”
        The definitive science on this matter is compiled and published by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team which completes peer reviewed products as opposed to the “gray” science opinions of others. The vital rates of this population indicate the bears have reached a carrying capacity within their core habitat. Questions about their food sources have already been investigated and the results published by the Study Team. The question of how a species is to be managed after completing the delisting process lies with the states and not the federal government. I am not a bit concerned that the states will allow this population to decline again to a point they need to be relisted. I am concerned that if we cannot delist this recovered population of grizzly bears then public support for the Endangered Species Act will again decline.

        • Mat-ters says:

          Steve, Good post, Don’t we have better things to spend money on than lawsuits over the grizzly bear? Does anyone here think that if a state screws up the Grizzly bear population their own views on wildlife will be taken more seriously? OR are some more afraid that state management will be just fine? How many bears have to be killed every year for habituation and depredations? Is maxing out the dead bears from H&D the goal of some people? Move on. Spend the money on habitat.

        • JB says:

          Steve, I have to take exception with this statement: “Delisting [a] species is the ultimate goal of implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA.”

          According to the actual text of the Act, the goal of the ESA is “Conservation”, which means “…to use and the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary.”

          Arguing that “delisting” is the goal is akin to arguing that the goal of going to college is obtaining a degree–it confuses words on a paper with meaningful outcomes.

          • Steve Schmidt says:

            The Endangered Species Act [ESA]is administered primarily by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The quote I cited and you responded to was taken directly from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publication. So, yes, recovering a population to the point that it is delisted is the ultimate goal of the ESA.

            • JB says:

              Your quote was taken from a FWS publication, mine was taken from the Act itself. Which do you think is the more definitive source?

              The fact that FWS would publish such a statement is indicative of the degree to which they have lost site of the purpose of the ESA.

  6. Immer Treue says:

    While revisiting Highway 61, and stretching my legs during a short hike, I encountered a couple from Australia. This video captures the theme of our conversation, “What is with the kill everything mentality on our continent?” The video reinforces the financial rewards of ecotourism. One can only wonder, that in the times in which we live, trophy hunting still occurs.

    My apologies if this has been posted before.

    • Nancy says:

      Excellent video Immer. Thanks for posting it.

    • Steve Schmidt says:

      What is your definition of “Trophy Hunting?”

      • Immer Treue says:

        Trophy hunting, especially in regard to large carnivores is the selective hunting of said carnivore for human recreation. The trophy is the animal or part of the animal kept, and usually displayed, to represent the success of the hunt.

        The operative word is recreation. It certainly is not recreational for the animal killed, and I would hazard a guess, in most circumstances, the “trophy” killed is much more “noble” than the human that took its life.

        And while we are at it, the same can be said for “recreational” trappers.

        • Steve Schmidt says:

          Sounds like you are opposed to all hunting. Is that right?

          • Immer Treue says:

            WTF is wrong with you people? You sound like Reality22! I hunt! If I can get a deer, it’s meat for winter. Hides are donated to collection boxes in town for rendering. I don’t hang something on my wall to feed some misbegotten sense of pride that I have killed something.

            One can be opposed to “trophy” hunting and still support ethical hunting. Get your bloody head out of the sand.

            • Nancy says:

              If same Steve Schmidt, I suspect he’s got lots of irons in the fire, Immer, when it comes to moving the delisting forward (and probably a nice spot picked out in the livingroom for a grizzly mount 🙂


              • Immer Treue says:

                I “like” the assumption he makes from asking a personal definition about trophy hunting to opposition of all hunting.

                Even if grizzly are hunted,will this really ease conflict? Kind of like wolf hunting here in MN. How in the world does hunting wolves in the BWCA area help farmers along the forest/prairie interface that runs diagonally across the state?

                I’ll confess that I have not read the grizzly plan if one in deed exists, but if it’s just managing for numbers, it’s a fools errand.

                • Mat-ters says:

                  Wolf hunting in MN, You may want to sharpen up on how a quota system works Immer. I believe the zone system they were using certainly had the farmlands in different zones than the Back Waters. Where, the farmlands had liberal quotas to make those area better neighbors to farmers and the BWCA more stringent tags for the benefit of back wooders? I’m sure the core area of grizzlies are set up the same?? Still I see some benefit to at least some harvest in the BW, its natural.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  My point was that hunting wolves in the BWCA does no good for the conflict in the farm forest interphase. It’s just “trophy” hunting. There were only three zones: NE, NW, and NC. The NW was three times the size as NE where the BWCA is located, and had little to do with where farms were located.


                  The 2012 season for you to “sharpen” fill in the blanks about what you know, and don’t know about MN.

                • Mat-ters says:

                  I got you down for 0 harvest in zone NE. What you say for NW and I think it’s EC “East Central?” not NC. You seem to know your stuff, where are all the depredations taking place?

                • Mat-ters says:

                  Would a good stiff harvest of wolves help the struggling moose in NE.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  Pages 6 and 20 give the best information on where most depredations occur. On page 6’its pretty easy to see the interface of forest and prairie land, just follow the heavy concentration of data points.


                  And yes, I mistakenly put NC instead of EC. Look at the cluster of complaints emanating from EC and diagonally moving toward the NW.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  All depends on with whom you talk. Speak with the old timers up here, and wolves are the reason for everything that’s wrong that can’t be blamed on Obama.

                  What follows pertains to moose in NE portion of state, as disappearance of moose in NW has little to nothing to do with wolves.

                  Complicated issue, well documented by Mech. Wolf population increased dramatically in zone of moose economy, but in last 3-4 years has dropped off. Why? Big blowdown in 1999 created ideal deer habitat, followed by series of relatively mild winters until about 2008. Deer population ballooned, more food for wolves equates to more wolves and corresponding pressure upon moose. Deer also bring in brain worm and liver flukes. So, three things hit moose population, all directly related to increase in deer population. Whether you believe in warming of our planet or not, winter ticks have also devastated MN mooPages 6 and 20 give the best information on where most depredations occur. On page 6’its pretty easy to see the interface of forest and prairie land, just follow the heavy concentration of data points.

                  Mech (Nov 2014) has said as much that wolf population in moose economy zone was buffered by deer and beaver, but wolf numbers have since declined.

                  Two really tough back to back winters 12/13 and 13/14 knocked the stuffing out of deer in northern MN. Emergency feeding began late winter of 14, but not in moose zones. Deer numbers have climbed over past couple years, last winter very mild, and MN DNR will have increased deer harvest in moose zones.

                  Ironic that many feel that wolves belong only in those remote areas, but now that moose are teetering on the brink, even those remote areas are not good enough for some.

                • Mat-ters says:

                  We both know there are two ends to this straw… you have just made it sound like all the “old timers” want to chew it up and spit it in your face. you may find a few…BUT it could also be because you wouldn’t even budge some on helping the moose! I’ve read the stuff from Mech your sugar coating their role and over exaggerating the role of deer, which have had some struggles in that zone.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  Well, as you seem to know it all…sorry I took the time answering your questions. Your statement tolls all too familiarly.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  My apologies that a simple comparison has hijacked the subject of this topic.

                  The Star Tribune article from which most received their information about moose decline in NE MN


                  A small part of the article glossed over my most readers.

                  “Moose are a prime food source for wolves in the northeast, so as the moose population declines, one would expect the wolf population to eventually fall, too. “That seems to be happening in our study area,” Mech said. The wolf population there increased until 2012, but he said it appears to have since declined.”

                  And here is the paper from which the above article was taken, which does document wolf increase until 2012, from whence Mech stated in the Star Tribune article their numbers have since declined, which also coincides with the first of the two back to back severe Winters. As an aside, no one is arguing that wolf numbers did not impact the moose of NE MN. But the question that receives to little attention is why did the wolf numbers increase? It certainly wasn’t virgin births due to immaculate conceptions, but an increase in deer numbers.


                  The deer factor
                  Wolf-population density in the wolf-survey area was able to remain high even as moose numbers were declining because throughout much of the wolf-survey area as well as the larger moose-survey area, deer and beavers continued to be available, probably subsidizing wolves while they also preyed on declining numbers of moose. Some wolf packs even occupied narrow territories stretching as far as 42 km from the northeastern part of the wolf-survey area where few deer live in summer and none in winter to the southwestern part where deer live in summer and congregate in winter (L. D. Mech and S. Barber-Meyer, U.S. Geological Survey, unpublished data).

                • Immer Treue says:

                  And one more for you.


                  This deals mainly with deer vectored disease to moose, but the other variable is lower deer numbers in moose zones equates to fewer wolves and less pressure on moose.

                • Mat-ters says:

                  Immer, Just a couple of things. My original comment which talks “zones” blows your killing wolves in one zone not a help in the other to smithereens as it would be in the management of grizzlies. I’m glad you have an understanding of the concept but wonder why you made the statement in the first place.

                  In my opinion your 0 wolf kill in zone NE is not a move towards being natural. It is a death sentence for secondary pray like moose. Please do not imply that your “trophy hunting” bugaboo of killing wolves in the back waters is meant to stop the depredations in the farmlands you may fool some on this sight but those in the real world of wildlife know better. I’m disappointed that you have done that here.

                  Your article, Quote “Now, the DNR says deer densities in a newly defined “moose region’’ will be kept at about the same levels hunters have seen in recent years — levels that in some instances are at or near modern-day lows.“ This is in direct contradiction to the deer numbers are increasing and are the reason theories!

                • Immer Treue says:


                  Please read my original comment on the wolf/grizzly comparison, in particular as you were the one who did not understand the MN plan. Killing wolves in the “backwaters” ,your term, will have no effect on where the “problems” are found.

                  Plus this 2012 email from the MN Chief of Wildlife management sets the true tone.

                  In an email dated April 23, 2012, obtained by an earlier Government Data Practices Act request, Dennis E. Simon, (Chief Wildlife Management) of the DNR writes “… we owe it to our primary clients, hunters and trappers, and to livestock producers as secondary clients, to do what we can to establish a legitimate harvest opportunity now that the wolf is under our management authority.”

              • Immer Treue says:

                And since you like the Timberjay, here is a much more recent column by the same individual you quoted.


                Time to discourage deer feeding in moose country

                The increase in the amount of recreational deer feeding may be partly to blame for the decline in our region’s moose population.
                Posted Sunday, March 13, 2016 12:00 am
                Marshall Helmberger
                n the past week, three conversations have helped me put the situation with our region’s moose population into better context.

                In the first case, I talked with a well-known ecologist (from a Minnesota university) who has studied moose and other boreal forest wildlife during his career. He agreed to speak on the subject without attribution. As with most ecologists, he sees habitat as the driving factor behind changes in wildlife populations. Barring some kind of catastrophic disease, he believes most wildlife can sustain itself as long as it has sufficient adequate habitat. So, if a wildlife population is in decline, change in habitat is usually the first area he examines.

                Up here, when we talk about habitat, it’s really a question of that state of our forests. As I’ve written previously, we saw a major conversion of the forests of the region from predominantly mature and over-mature in the early 1980s to predominantly young forest by the end of the early 2000s. That was the result of the big spike in timber harvesting we saw beginning in the late 1980s.

                As with any significant change in habitat across a large landscape, this one had consequences, including increases in ungulate populations, including both moose and deer.

                Ecologists like to talk about carrying capacity, and that’s a function of many factors, but habitat is clearly a big part of the equation. Provide an abundance of good habitat and most wildlife will do just fine. We’ve seen that in the case of some of the large burns that have occurred over the past 10 years in our region, where moose numbers remain high. With the Pagami Creek burn finally starting to recover, moose numbers are growing as well.

                This suggests that moose can still thrive in our region, when they have quality habitat. Of course, in nature, nothing is static. Old forests may be replaced by young forests, but those young trees eventually grow bigger and as that happens, it affects the quality of habitat. Our ecologist said he’s already seen that trend across a large area of northeastern Minnesota. Those young stands of aspen that sprouted up in the wake of logging in the 1990s may have provided excellent habitat for several years, but timber harvesting has slowed significantly in the primary moose range since the wood industry downturn hit in the mid-2000s.

                Those stands of young aspen that used to provide abundant browse are now 15-20 years old and all of those nutritious buds are sitting at the tops of those trees, 25 feet in the air, well above the reach of moose or deer. These days, these stands provide little browse and virtually no beneficial cover. A 20-year-old aspen stand might as well be desert scrub for all the benefit it offers to a northern Minnesota ungulate.

                With millions of acres of forestland in our region now in this category, however, it raises the obvious question. Has the land’s carrying capacity for moose and deer been diminished in the past decade? Barring some other major factor, an ecologist would say a declining moose population is evidence of exactly that.

                But wouldn’t the same trend be affecting whitetail deer populations as well as moose? I would say yes, except for one other interesting factor that is, artificially, increasing the carrying capacity of the landscape for deer, without providing similar benefit to moose— and that is recreational deer feeding.

                Which leads me to my next two conversations. The first was with a local feed dealer, who told me that recreational deer feeding constituted maybe three-to-five percent of his feed business 25 years ago. Today, it’s 35 percent. And some of his customers feed as much as a ton of deer feed every month, individually affecting the survival of dozens of deer. Now multiply that by all the people feeding deer throughout the region.

                And I talked with Shawn Perich, an astute observer of the natural world over in Cook County, who said the amount of deer feeding spiked there as well after the severe winters in the mid-1990s. We’ve seen the same thing along the Fernberg corridor, where deer congegrate in large numbers in the winter to take advantage of the many people feeding deer. In each case, the feeding sustains deer in regions where winters and declining habitat quality would otherwise reduce their numbers.

                Artificially maintaining higher deer numbers has numerous effects on moose. Deer are carriers of parasites, like liver flukes, brainworm, and ticks, which weaken or kill moose. Where we find high deer numbers, moose eventually disappear, and the research is pointing to health impacts as part of the cause.

                Keeping deer numbers artificially high also sustain more wolves on the landscape, and that limits the reproductive capacity of moose. Research points to wolf predation as the leading cause of moose calf mortality, and it’s a significant factor with adult moose as well.

                Moose in our region face the double-whammy of high deer numbers, which spread disease, combined with the greatest density of timber wolves found anywhere in North America. Combine these factors with a changing forest that is arguably eroding the quality of moose habitat, and you have a situation that would be stressing just about any wildlife species.

                So what’s the answer? I don’t think a ban on deer feeding is in the cards, and I don’t like bans in any case. But there’s justification for an educational campaign to warn the public about the hazards of deer feeding, which are many.

                Deer feeding not only kills moose, it creates a public safety hazard for people, as well. Deer frequently cross highways to get to feeding areas, and they get hit by cars as they do so, causing millions of dollars in property damage and personal injury. They spread parasites, like ticks (including those that carry Lyme disease), in areas where they congregate. They cause damage to vegetable and ornamental gardens when the winter feeding troughs are no longer filled in the spring.

                We spend millions educating the public about invasive species, and that’s an important issue because the survival of native aquatic species is at risk. But the survival of our native moose is also at risk.

                Education can be incredibly effective, since most people want to do the right thing. Many folks who feed deer assume they are doing a good thing, and most greatly enjoy the chance to observe deer up close. But once you make the connection between deer feeding and the disappearance of moose, I suspect many will choose not to feed. If so, our moose will have a fighting chance.

                • Mat-ters says:

                  “Backwaters” is a term used around the perch fishing camp on Lake Winnibigoshish to describe the Boundary waters. Grandpa, one the “old timers” you tossed under the bus, used the term “backwaters” he has been gone a few decades now. He was a big Democrat that was smart enough to vote for a real conservative Reagan. TWICE. and was proud of it!

                • Immer Treue says:

                  Hey 22, look at your own image as far as throwing people under the bus. Why hide? Your logic, jargon, and truth-be-told not keeping up To date with your citing sources, is nothing but trying to beat the dead horse that has long been taken from the barn. Your tired banter demonstrates anything but a sense of reality. Sorry about grand pa. More sorry he voted forReagan.

            • timz says:

              If man is still around 100 years from now trophy hunting and the lust to kill wildlife will be looked back upon
              with the same disdain that we have today looking back on slavery.

        • rork says:

          I think it’s hard to separate trophy from non-trophy hunting and that is one of the reasons bunny-huggers like the term.

          I kill and eat deer, and that’s mostly for meat, and though I do keep nice racks of males, it doesn’t feel like trophy hunting. It however still “re-creates” something of the past, particularly cause I’m using a bow, and feel a bit connected to the old ways.

          Turkey hunting, the meat is little compared to the effort involved, so maybe that’s mostly recreation, though the meat is outstanding and is part of it. There are some beards in the basement somewhere, but the trophy doesn’t really matter. It’s the dinner with friends that’s the trophy perhaps – I could have just bought that bird (for about $90 – heirlooms).

          Steelhead fishing, I never kill the fish, but that feels like trophy fishing.

          It seems tricky. There are many kinds of hunting I would never do cause I like them too much, they don’t need killing or even feel not abundant enough, and the meat is not that great an inducement.

          • rork says:

            I should add for stuff like steelhead, the picture is the trophy. A trophy is some kind of proof is all, something like a certification (says Saint Aldo).

          • Steve Schmidt says:

            Thank you Rork for your thoughtful comments. Here are a couple more questions to ponder relative to the issue of trophy hunting: 1) What is the difference between collecting a momento of the hunt in the form of feathers, antlers, skins, teeth, or even pictures and a collecting a “trophy?” 2) Native Americans have long kept parts of the animals they harvested. Was/Is that wrong?

      • Yvette says:

        Trophy Hunter: One who kills for enjoyment, sport, and entertainment and keeps the body or body parts of the victim as a trophy.

        • JB says:


          The problem with this definition is that it assigns a particular motivation (enjoying killing) to a particular outcome of hunting (obtaining a trophy). While it is certainly possible that some people who obtain trophies enjoy killing, you might consider that some people who obtain a trophy also simply enjoy HUNTING–i.e., the process of scouting, finding, stalking, etc. that occurs before one pulls the trigger. Indeed, surveys of hunters find that hunters commonly report satisfaction with hunts that do not end with a kill (presumably, because they enjoyed the process rather than the outcome). Something to ponder…?

          • Mat-ters says:

            Jeremy Something to ponder? Please read Peter and Immer’s post below and give us your understanding and predicting of the attitudes and behaviors which this type of talk does for the tolerance for large carnivores. Just say’n?

            • JB says:

              If tolerance for carnivores were solely a function of risk-benefit tradeoffs, then it shouldn’t have any effect. Why should what some guy I disagree with says on the internet effect my behavior with respect to large carnivores?

              However, if hunters were motivated to kill carnivores because they felt that others were unfairly characterizing them…

              Then again, what does it say about someone that they would kill an animal as a form of retribution for a perceived slight?

          • TimZ says:

            “the process of scouting, finding, stalking, etc.”

            You mean like when they scout and stalk cats and bears with dogs.

          • Yvette says:

            JB, I do not doubt the validity of your point for at least some percentage of hunters. For those of us who have been hunters or been around hunters, we know the excitement that builds for the fall/winter ungulate hunts. A large part of it is being outdoors and the challenge of scouting and stalking the animal. If the motivation is the enjoyment in the process of the scouting and stalking the animal why pull the trigger for any reason other than the need for meat? Once the shot is made and the animal falls why pose for a picture with the sentient being that just lost his life? Why decapitate them so the head can be mounted on a wall? I would ask why not scout and stalk then just take pictures? But there is an element in the hunt that is lost with simply taking a picture. What is that element? Is it the camaraderie of other hunters when one is successful at taking a life?

            There is sport or a challenge, in a true hunt but when a sentient being loses its life in that sport there should be an ethical reason to support the taking of that life. If that animal feeds a family for the winter or year then that supports an ethical reason to hunt. I’ll add that humility in the accomplishment of being a good hunter who feeds their family is a good trait that can counter some of the sacrifice of that animal’s life.

            • Nancy says:

              Good read Yvette:


              Can fully relate to subsistence hunting. Can’t relate at all to the “mine’s bigger than yours” mentality too often prevalent during hunting season.

              • Ida Lupine says:

                I thought this article was a sensationalist, and the writer with an agenda. He lost me by slipping sly and vague references to ‘extremists’ and ‘death threats’, which this group always seems to do. And I don’t know what ‘vegan-turned-hunter’ is supposed to convince anyone of?

                Ah, shared values – protection of land and wildlife, but for different reasons. So begrudgingly, without other alternative, I guess we’re supposed to go along with, but never embrace.

            • JB says:

              Yvette- By the definition you’ve provided, anyone who hunts deer, elk, caribou, turkey, etc., and keeps a trophy is a trophy hunter–even if they are utilizing the meat.

              So the problem with you definition, to be a bit more precise, is that it assigns a motivation (“killing for enjoyment…”) based upon an outcome (taking a trophy) when, in fact, an individual may enjoy aspects of the hunt (btw, camaraderie with others is not limited to occasions where one takes a life) that do not involve killing, yet still desires to put meat in the refrigerator.

              My point–while in some cases (e.g., killing of Cecil the lion) one can divorce trophy-taking (a poor reason to hunt, we can agree) from meat acquisition (a good reason to hunt), in most cases (at least in the US) we cannot. That is–the taking of a trophy occurs coincidentally with the killing of an animal for food.

              This is why hunters will find the definition you provided above objectionable, and needlessly polarizing.

  7. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Being back from the States again I think I can afford a little satire now, without having to fear to have the entry into the promised land denied. Been to Yellowstone again this year after 9 years absence but this is a different story.
    To me, this ongoing Grizzly hunting issue is just another fine lesson in American Democracy. Every hard working citizen of Trumpy country should have the constitutional right to harvest a Grizzly and either display it in upright position in his hidden trophy room or flat in front of the bed. After all, that is, what bears are meant for and why all this recovery blah blah has been made.
    Hey, no problem for the winning class in the society, those that do not normally have problems with health insurance. They still can afford to travel to Alaska or Kamtschatka to bring home a really big and impressive bear. Sorry, But the losers, those with the tooth gaps, that can barely afford the annual membership fee for the NRA, will have to go with one of those small Lower48 Grizz. Watch your step, when you go to the fride, to grab a beer, you might fall over your precious trophy…

    • Immer Treue says:

      Satire pretty damn close to the truth.

      • Mark L says:

        Well said Peter.

        I’d say that there’s a definite correlation between trophy hunting and picture taking also. If its about you AND the animal (not just the animal) there’s some trophy in there somewhere.

  8. Ida Lupine says:

    The more I learn about hunting and hunters, the more opposed to the practice I become. I will never learn to accept it. The rare instances of subsistence hunting I can accept, but the rest is a choice, and an extremely selfish one at that. Do we really believe that with the millions of domestic animals slaughtered every day for food, we need to slaughter wild animals too? It may have been necessary in the past to feed our families, but it isn’t relevant today. Very few need to hunt to feed their families anymore.

    And the concept that we need humanity to ‘manage’ wildlife is absurd.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      The ethical hunting mentality of the past I don’t feel exists anymore, if it ever really did. The abuse and objectification in it is rampant, and I feel reflects an unfortunate trait of human nature akin to racism and the other -isms we subject other beings to. Hunting is based on mankind being superior to other creatures, something I become less convinced of every day.

      Stalking (I don’t even like the word!) and tracking is one thing, bonding with the family and other men, etc., but if those is the highlight of the activity, then why pull the trigger? Buy a camera!

      • Ida Lupine says:

        sorry, ‘if those are the highlights of the activity, getting out in the outdoors too, then why pull the trigger?’

        • Ida Lupine says:

          The other reason I will never accept hunting is that today, hunting means killing predators so that enough (will there ever be?) ungulates can be out there for the hunters to kill. Killing wolves, mountain lions, bears for that reason is unacceptable.

          Teaching a child to overcome their natural revulsion to taking a life is something I could not tolerate as a mother. If it meant survival, like in times past, it might have meant something. If their was thanks to nature and gratitude also, but today there is none, just entitlement.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            ^^What’s going on with autocorrect? ‘Their’ should be ‘there’.

            On a happier note, I was glad to see Peter K posting with us again.

  9. Steve Schmidt says:

    Thanks JB for your comment that hunters enjoy hunting. I hunt for a number of reasons, not least of which is for enjoyment and outdoor recreation. I particularly enjoy the interactive nature of hunting in settings which challenge my outdoor skills. I understand and accept however that hunting is not for everyone. The kill for me is often anti-climatic but valuable. I enjoy the pursuit of game and to eat the game I hunt and am always grateful for the life I have taken. I believe those who choose to hunt predators do so in part because that type of hunting is often very challenging and financially costly. Make no mistake, a legal harvest of a grizzly bear is not an easy thing to do.

  10. Sharyn Fernandez says:

    I just heard about this delisting; hunting just to trophy hunt is questionable especially when it’s concerning another species that exhibits at times a sense of humor: reference:’t-just-smart-–-they’re-funny-too.html

  11. G Chambers says:

    Yeah Im with Steve S. I hunt for lots of different reasons, I really enjoy taking my lad out with me and sometimes his mates it makes for a great bonding session chasing after grizzlies and other animals.

    Hunting isnt for everyone but for some the enjoyment of hunting bears is second to none. Its just like fishing for some people which im not a real fan off but i dont complain about it 🙂


August 2016


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey